Social Media Marketing Handbook For Small Businesses: An In-depth Guide

a social media marketing handbook for small businesses

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You can’t go far as a business before you come into contact with social media and the questions surrounding it. How do you use it for your small business? Which platforms suit the brand image you want to create? What content should you be producing? What are the best social media engagement ideas?

These options can be overwhelming, especially for startup owners. However, with 4.65 billion users worldwide, you can’t ignore social media if you want to maximize your small business’s success.

There’s no single way that small businesses should or shouldn’t use social media. Different companies and groups have shown the full spectrum of how social media can be used as a platform to reach individuals, engage them in your activity, and attract them to your pages.

Nonetheless, it can be helpful to have a starting point, giving you an idea of the basics of social media when using it in your small business marketing strategy.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Beyond posting whatever comes to mind regarding your small business online, social media marketing requires a strategy to target an audience with your products, events, and content.

Done well, this works with other marketing strategies and SEO forecasting, directing potential customers to your social media profiles and eCommerce store to purchase. This transforms social media platforms into an area to use your marketing, adjusting it to the online space.

There are various social media sites, each with different personalities, favored content formats, and people using them. Social media marketing isn’t just posting the same content across all your channels but noticing the variations and making use of these when choosing what to share.

For larger businesses, you may have social media managers with expertise in specific channels, but this responsibility likely rests on you as a smaller business.

5 Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

1. Reach a Wide Audience

Regardless of the resources you do or don’t have, your existing customer base, or people working for your small business, social media is a great way to amplify your brand.

Even beginning with a few followers, social media marketing can soon share your content with a far larger audience. This makes social media an excellent platform for new brands, helping your business to grow and develop customer bases with little effort.

It’s also important to consistently post on your social media to benefit from the large audience you have access to. To help with this, it’s advisable to use a social media scheduler.

2. Collaborate With Others

Social media is designed to share ideas with other users. This is made even easier through live stream features, inviting multiple hosts, and being able to tag accounts.

Also, influencer collaborations have gained popularity, reaching their followers with your products and brand name. These shared posts allow you to share resources with other businesses and support others in your industry.

3. Share User-generated Content

Being able to easily show your followers the opinions and content of your customers acts as validation, providing a reliable review for those considering making a purchase.

Through sharing their content to your stories, reposting it, or dueting their video content, you can show appreciation for your customers and their feedback. You can also search ‘what is brand ambassador’ to find more ways of including customers in promoting your brand.

4. Cheaper Than Other Advertising

While other advertising platforms can be valuable, small businesses must use the resources available to them effectively.

For example, if you’re a start-up selling a virtual phone number for small business organizations and don’t have a big budget for advertising, you’ll probably find that promoting your business on social media is the cheapest advertising option.

Social media marketing can be free, with promotions or other features available with add-on payments. Saving here allows you to budget your costs on other areas like production equipment, communication tools such as a phone service to forward a voicemail on a phone, and post-purchase follow-up software.

5. Personalize for Your Followers

Using social media allows small businesses to put more of their personality into their marketing, giving your brand a voice that connects with your followers. In other marketing spaces, this can be limited, and a more professional tone tends to be adopted.

However, many small business customers will seek out a personal relationship with the small business owner over a faceless enterprise, so your profile can help you to better facilitate that.

Start Using Social Media Marketing With Your Small Business

1. Create a Plan

Many of us already use social media for personal use, so it can be tempting to think you know what you’re doing and dive straight in.

However, this can create a chaotic profile for your business, missing key information or not building on your existing brand image.

You need a plan to identify your social media goals and how you intend to achieve them. Think of it as similar to proposal writing, requiring clear objectives, methods, and ways of measuring success.

Your plan should also involve an element of research, both finding similar accounts you like and what they do well, alongside your competitor businesses. This can create inspiration for your profile while ensuring it stands out from other businesses in your field.

Looking into the algorithms of platforms can also help plan the format of content you prioritize.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

Although social media has the potential to reach almost anyone, this isn’t an achievable audience to aim for.

Segmenting your followers and creating customer personas can help clarify the people you want your social media marketing to reach, helping you create an engagement strategy. This enables you to personalize your content better and pique your target base’s interest in your brand.

Personalized content can also make you more visible to your follower base, as Facebook and Instagram’s algorithm favor personalized posts over generic posts. 

Furthermore, you can highlight who your existing customers and target customers are. These may be different people with diverging perspectives both on your brand and social media in general.

Where possible, it’s great to target both. For example, current pet owners may want guidance on pet screening or care, while potential pet owners may want to know what kind of animal is suitable for them.

However, this isn’t always possible. In these cases, remember who your marketing is aiming to reach and prioritize their engagement.

As social media is constantly updated, new trends are arising all the time.

You may not be able to keep up with all of these, but selecting some trends to interact with that link to your brand image can build your brand awareness. This might be a video challenge, using a popular song or audio with your clips, or engaging with key topics being discussed online.

Likewise, be wary of when trends fall out of fashion. Brands can quickly categorize themselves as out-of-date or slow by jumping on a trend that’s been overdone or moved past.

This can lead to content never being used, but the alternative is followers leaving as they’ve already seen your content elsewhere. Some social platforms, such as Instagram and Tiktok accounts, face this challenge more than others, like LinkedIn or Facebook.

4. Experiment With Format

Becoming a successful business on social media takes time and experimentation to find what suits your brand. Trying different formats and styles of posts can reveal which ones your followers enjoy and interact with most, as well as which feels most authentic to your small business.

One of the benefits of agile methodology in circumstances like this is that if something doesn’t work, your strategy can change to use something else instead.

If you regularly rely on images or text posts, try creating a reel or video to see what it could add to your business profile.

Also, make use of features like being able to live stream, enabling you to share another format of content with your audience. This can open up the opportunities available to you for collaboration with others and how you connect with your followers.

5. Adjust Your Strategy

Use KPIs throughout your social media marketing strategy to track success.

These can include interactions on individual posts, clicks on links to your eCommerce store, or conversions made through social media applications.

Likewise, collect and use the feedback you receive, whether on social media or through other methods like recording phone calls to your support lines. These metrics show how your social media content is being received.

As you get more confident with using social media for your small business, your goals and how you intend to achieve them may alter. This shows you have a clearer vision of where your business should be heading, so you should adjust your strategy as you go.

There’s no point sticking to an initial target if it’s no longer relevant or going to help your business.

Is Your Small Business Using Social Media Marketing?

Hopefully, this guide has given you more of an idea of how social media marketing can be used to benefit your small business and how you can succeed with it.

As with all new strategies, it will take time for your business to find its stride, identifying the best visual content to post and how to caption them.

Nonetheless, with practice and perseverance, your audience will grow, and you’ll become more confident in marketing with social media.

Don’t be afraid to try out the different features or play with the current trends. Even if it doesn’t work out, it gives you a better idea of the full potential of your social media marketing. On the other hand, it could also be a huge success and bring new customers to your business.

There’s no right way of managing a business social media account, so find what works for you and your target audience to engage them in your brand.

Vaslou is a passionate digital creator and blogger who loves to explore unique paths to generate online income. He’s also a musician, always looking for exciting paths to articulate his inventive spirit in the musical realm. When he’s not at work on his online endeavors, Vasco loves to delve into spiritual realms to become a better version of himself.

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